Spectators are being encouraged to use the railway to visit the Borders for the first stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain this weekend.
Some of the world’s top cyclists will tackle a 79km loop of the central Borders on Sunday 3 September, including the iconic Scott’s View and Melrose, before the final sprint to the finish line in Kelso.
The Borders Railway allows Tour of Britain spectators to take in both the Grand Depart in Edinburgh and the stage as it passes through the Borders, utilising the train between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank.
Upon arriving at Tweedbank, they can either walk the short distance to Melrose or jump on a local bus service, including the City Sightseeing Scottish Borders bus tour. This hop-on hop-off service operates on a loop and includes stops at Scott’s View and Melrose as well as Tweedbank Station and Galashiels Transport Interchange.
Sunday will also see the annual Tesco Bank Tour O’ The Borders sportive take place, starting in Peebles. This year there are routes of 120km and 88km and both feature spectacular scenery and some of the best road cycling terrain in Scotland.
Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, Councillor Mark Rowley, said: “Excitement is building as both the Tour of Britain and Tour O’ The Borders approach.
“With Kelso featuring prominently in the Tour of Britain’s first stage, we have provided 2,500 pupils in the Kelso and Jedburgh areas with Tour of Britain water bottles to encourage them to come out with their families and watch these world class cyclists in action.
“The railway has already brought more visitors to our area, and now offers spectators a fantastic chance to see the Tour of Britain in both the historic streets of Edinburgh and the beauty of the Borders.”
Kelso Wheelers Cycling Club junior member Gregor Forbes, said: “I am really looking forward to seeing some of the best cyclists in the world in Kelso.
“The club has lots of events on in the run up to Sunday so it is going to be an exciting week.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, added: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the Scottish Borders will provide a spectacular backdrop for spectators and riders alike on the opening stage of this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
“We would encourage spectators to make the journey on the Borders Railway to soak up the atmosphere at this key event in the country’s sporting calendar.”
Alasdair Smart, the ScotRail Alliance’s tourism manager, said: “We are delighted that the Tour of Britain is returning to the Borders, and look forward to helping visitors from across the country and beyond experience the beauty and rich natural heritage of the area.”
Residents all along the Tour of Britain route are encouraged to come up with ways to welcome the race and Tweet their creations using the hashtag #BordersBikeBonanza.
Tour of Britain spectator information
Spectators wanting to watch Stage One of the Tour of Britain in the Scottish Borders are spoilt for choice.
In addition to hosting the stage finish, Kelso will also see the race pass through earlier in the day at the start of a 79km loop which brings the riders back for the final kilometre.
This means spectators can see the race twice and also enjoy entertainment in the town in between. This includes live coverage of the race on a big screen and the Tour’s promotional village.
Free parking will be available at Springwood Park, just a short walk from the town centre and finish line.
The Eisberg Sprint in Coldstream High Street (around 1.05pm) and the SKODA King of the Mountains location at the top of Scott’s View (2.30pm) will be great viewing opportunities too.
Parking restrictions will be in place around Scott’s View to keep the race route clear, but a free shuttle bus will operate from Earlston and Dryburgh Abbey Hotel to ferry spectators to what will undoubtedly be a highlight of Stage One.
Another sprint in Melrose (2.45pm) will be closely followed by a SKODA King of the Mountains climb on Dingleton Road (2.47pm), which will also attract many spectators.
Further spectator information, including full estimated timings, is available from www.scotborders.gov.uk/tourofbritain
More information on the Borders Railway is available at www.bordersrailway.co.uk
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